Joshua Trees—those insufferable egomaniacs of the plant world, whose simultaneous self-aggrandizement and self-deprecation is becoming so extreme we oughtta change their name to Anne Hathaway—are at it again. Millions of the so-called Martyrs of the Mojave—famous for their craggy, crippled-looking, manipulatively sympathy sucking postures (which, rumor has it, were devised by a Tony-winning choreographer for a six-figure consideration)—are spending this spring blooming colorful greenish-white flowers in amounts that Cameron Barrows, a research ecologist at the University of California, Riverside, says are “probably unprecedented in anybody’s recent memory.” Why? That’s no mystery to anybody who actually knows this look-at-me tree—who perhaps remembers the sickening way it shmoozed Bono to get its name on that U2 album, and then sued for copyright infringement. And the Joshua Tree’s wily ways are working just as effectively with Barrows, the scientific method notwithstanding. He gets positively doe-eyed when speculating that the bloom bomb might be a stress response after several years of drought. Oh, those poor, parched Joshua Trees! Yet they turn their own thirst into beauty that rehydrates our crispy-dry souls.
He was born Richard Heltebrake. He grew up to become resident manager of Camp Tahquitz, the rustic mountain retreat in the San Bernardino Mountains that’s owned by the Long Beach Boy Scouts of America. He’s gone on to be called “Ranger Rick” by the young scouts. What’s next for Heltebrake? He’s going to sue the City of Los Angeles for the $1 million reward it offered during the early February hunt for bent-on-revenge ex-cop Christopher Dorner. Yep, ol’ Ranger Rick is a bounty hunter. He is among several people who insist they deserve the $1 million, which was promised for information leading to Dorner’s arrest. Of course, Dorner was not arrested—he died in a Big Bear cabin that caught fire and burned to the ground during a shootout with law enforcement, and authorities rule he committed suicide. Of course, ol’ Rangey Rickster isn’t hearing any of that. He insists it was his phone call—after Dorner stole his pickup at gunpoint and drove away—that triggered the law-enforcement response that soon ended the 10-day manhunt. And there’s really only one proper response when somebody tells you something like that—slowly repeat the situation to that person in a in a strange and irregular cadence.
So, Ranger Rick, you’re telling me . . . that Christopher Dorner . . . stole your pickup truck . . . at gunpoint . . . and drove away . . . so you reported him . . . to law enforcement . . . and within a couple of hours . . . Christopher Dorner . . . was . . . dead.
This is the day for getting baked . . . unless your preferred term is blazed . . . or maybe faded or toasted . . . and then there’s burnt . . . although at work there’s always safety break or OSHA’d . . . with me and my best bud it’s best bud . . . sometimes big high, blunted, chonged or cheesed . . . my Midwestern relatives like to chief, and when I visit I’ve been known to do so much chiefin‘ that they nicknamed me Chief Chieferson, and when I burn one in their memory I call it going to the Midwest . . . stoned, stondeder, stondedest . . . redundant . . . Neiled . . . and, of course, redundant . . . blessed, saved, baptized, made in His image . . . dappled, drowsy, ready for sleep . . . adopted . . . raise our self-esteem, bully our brains . . . oh, and I can’t leave out redundant . . . or, in honor of the day, tor-fwentied . . . but, bottom line, relapsed.
Hey! Ranger Rick! Howzitgoin? Yeah, sorry about disappearing like that . . . I had to do something for my mom. Yeah, I kinda try to be there for her, you know, with her being up there in her 80s now, and I guess I mentioned her stroke? Anyway, soooo, I think it totally sucks the way LA is trying to stiff you on that Dorner reward. What was the story you were telling again? Huh? No? Your mother, too? Wow, that’s quite a coincidence! But I get it. Sure. Another time.
Happy Earth Day! Hahaha. As if.
Ranger Rick? Wow, what a surprise! No, this is totally a good time. Sure. Just let me be sure this recorder has batteries. OK, soooo, you and Christopher Dorner? How did that happen? Yeah, ready. Shoot. And Ranger Rick says: “I see this person, I’m not going very fast, he comes out of the snow and I see a crashed vehicle behind him, as if he went up a snow bank. And I could see Christopher Dorner, gun pointed right at me. I stopped, put the truck in park and raised up my hands. He said ‘I don’t want to hurt you, start walking up the road. And take your dog.’ I did. As soon as my cell got reception, I called a local deputy who lives in the area . . . And pretty much, he’s 9-1-1.”